Impossibly Cool Gakken Stirling Engine
By James Grahame
Gakken's Stirling Engine kit is a deranged mechanical wonder. While most Stirling engines just sit on a desk and spin purposelessly, this one has wheels and a propeller and looks utterly fantastic.
Reviewer Bruce Rowe says, "I saw this and immediately wanted it.I couldn't justify spending the money on myself. So I bought it for my son. He is 19 years old and is very mechanical. Christmas morning, he opened it. 8 hours later, he had it running.
The kit has nice components. The instructions are complete (24 pages in Japanese). And, there are a whole bunch of tiny details to get lost in. The cylinder mount and the gears need to be carefully aligned. This is one of the trickier parts. If you have it misaligned, there will be too much friction for the engine to run. A gauge is supplied to make this step easier.
On the downside, this is not an easy kit. They are not kidding when they say it is for adults. You need to look at the pictures very carefully."
It's available in the USA from the Maker Shed for $119.99, and they offer an English manual [warning: pdf] if you'd like a glimpse of what you could be getting yourself into.